Keeping Things Moving: A “To Do” List to Help You Execute, Control, and Close Out Your Project

Instructions: After your project plan is approved and you are up and running, you can use the checklist below and related items to help you keep things moving according to your plan. Go through this list at least weekly for each project you are managing.

Check Your Project’s Scope.

Refresh your memory about your project’s goals and boundaries. In particular, make sure you have a clear picture of what the desired results should be at this point relative to deliverables, schedule costs, quality, and so on.

(See Worksheet: Project Scope Statement* under Action Item: Describe Project Scope if you don’t already have a formal scope statement.*)

Check Your Deliverables.

Analyze the status of each project deliverable. Are they evolving as planned? If appropriate:

  • Locate lists of quality criteria that may be applied to inspect the quality and completeness of the deliverables at this stage of the project.
  • Check contractors’ proposals or contracts to make sure you know what they should be supplying at this point.
  • Inspect all project deliverables.
  • Decide whether to accept inspected deliverables or to require rework.

(See Worksheet: Project Deliverables Status Analyzer.*)

Check Your Schedule.

  • Examine your milestones, key dates, and critical path. Are you where you need to be?

Analyze Variances (Deviations from Plan) by Comparing “Estimated” to “Actual.”

  • Are activities taking longer than planned? (Are you exceeding estimates of duration?)
  • Are you using more resource hours than you planned?
  • Are your actual costs exceeding your estimated costs?
  • If minor variances are discovered (variances that can be resolved easily without changing the plan or scope), then resolve them.
  • If major variances are discovered (variances that change the scope or constitute significant project issues), then handle them as described in the steps below.

(See Worksheet: Variance Analyzer.*)

Address Scope Changes.

  • Identify changes in scope (changes in deliverables, schedule, costs, etc.).
  • Handle scope changes, if necessary.

(See Guidelines: Handling Scope Change* and Worksheet: Project Scope Change Order.*)

List, Track, and Try to Resolve Open Issues.

  • Make a list of all the unresolved issues, or
  • Revisit the list of open issues from the last inspection period and try to resolve them.

(See Worksheet: Project Issue Tracker.*)

Revisit Potential Project Risks.

  • Locate the Risk Management Plan, if one has been created.
  • Note particularly whether any of the ongoing events or upcoming events are identified in the risk management plan as particularly vulnerable to risk.

Report Project Status.

  • After completing the checks above, if you haven’t already done so, talk to your team members and determine their perspective on project status.
  • Create and circulate a project status report.

(See Worksheet: The Project Status Report.*)

Drive for Close-Out of Activities and Sign-off of Deliverables as Appropriate.

  • Ask yourself, “What activities can I close out? Which deliverables can I get formally approved and signed-off?”
  • Prepare and get signatures on sign-off forms as appropriate.

(See Worksheet: Sample Project Sign-off Form* under Action Item: Close Out Project Activities.*)

Decide Whether It’s Appropriate to Kill the Project Then Do So, If Necessary.

(See Appendix E: Guidelines—When to Kill the Project.*)

Create a List of Lessons Learned.

  • Create a list of lessons learned that describes the ways subsequent project activities must be modified in order to prevent the difficulties encountered up to this point.
  • Complete Appropriate Evaluation Checklists.
  • Complete evaluation checklists, if applicable, and file them as part of the official project records.


* This item is located in The Project Management Minimalist and/or The Project Manager’s Partner by Michael Greer. If you don’t have either of those books, you can email me at and tell me which worksheet you’d like to see. I’ll send it to you. – Mike G.


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